The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved country’s first state of the art Information Technology (IT) Park in Islamabad.
The Korean Exim Bank has agreed to finance the establishment of the first Technology Park in Pakistan to promote IT and Telecom sector with a cost of $50 million, announced State Minister for Information Technology and Telecom, adding that Exim Bank would provide soft loan for the IT Park.
Minister stated this while addressing a function after attending the ECNEC meeting here on Tuesday.
The minister said that work on the IT Parks in Lahore and Karachi would be started soon.
Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) has leased about 45 acres of land in Chak Shahzad, Islamabad to build state of the art IT Park.
PSEB is mandated to facilitate Pakistani IT industry and increase exports of software and services from Pakistan. One of the major functions of PSEB is to set up and operate IT parks and provide conducive and enabling infrastructure for the development of IT industry.
PSEB has been conducted surveys periodically since 2004; the survey results indicate that absence of IT parks as one of the top three concerns of IT industry.
Besides providing office space to IT companies, IT Parks are necessary for creating a platform for information exchange and linkage between academia, industry and the government.
IT Parks not only prove to be ideal research and development centers but also provide enormous boost to national economy; proven examples include IT parks in India, China and South Korea.
Proposed site for Islamabad IT Park
Scope & Salient Features of Proposed IT Park
- Phase-1: Construction of buildings having approximately 1, 000, 00-1, 500,000 square feet of covered area on 15 acres of land
- About 120-150 IT companies would be hosted initially
- Infrastructure development and establishment cost Rs 10.7 billion
- Broad band connectivity, power backup, transportation, data centers etc
- Facility management, legal and financial services, business generation and entrepreneurship development skills, international technology linkages with large corporations
Common facilities such as research and development centers, application development laboratories, incubator facilities and entrepreneurship services, auditorium and virtual collaboration classrooms for brainstorming on technology trends, future possibilities and networking
A loan agreement between Exim Bank and Government of Pakistan for the project is expected to be signed soon.
Anusha Rehman said that it is the vision of the government to launch state-of-the-art IT parks in Pakistan to change the dynamics of the IT industry of Pakistan. Pakistan has a lot of IT talent and potential but that potential has not been utilized fully on a global scale because of lack of proper infrastructure for the IT industry at present.
The minister mentioned that government’s focus is to provide an enabling environment through infrastructure such as IT parks to IT entrepreneurs and IT companies so that they can grow and nurture their business and products to their true potential both locally and globally.
She said that vision behind the IT parks is that they would act as complete ecosystem with office space, incubators, accommodation for foreign visitors, gymnasium, lakes, biking trails, and not just raw office space.
An IT park should be a seat of learning and technology where there is exchange of knowledge and information between professionals and students, said the Minister.
Earlier the concept of IT Park was approved by the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Information Technology was in the process of preparing the PC-II in consultation with the World Bank. The World Bank had expressed its desire to invest up to $45 million in the project, however due to some hindrances, the government later preferred to engage Exim Korean Bank.